6.8/10
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45 user 29 critic

Bite the Bullet (1975)

A group of ex-rough riders, an ex-prostitute and a gunfighter enter a horse race in the desert.

Director:

Richard Brooks

Writer:

Richard Brooks
Reviews

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Hackman ... Sam Clayton
Candice Bergen ... Miss Jones
James Coburn ... Luke Matthews
Ben Johnson ... Mister
Ian Bannen ... Sir Harry Norfolk
Jan-Michael Vincent ... Carbo
Robert Donner ... Reporter
Jean Willes ... Rosie
Mario Arteaga Mario Arteaga ... Mexican
Dabney Coleman ... Jack Parker
John McLiam ... Gebhardt
Bob Hoy ... Lee Christie (as Robert Hoy)
Jerry Gatlin Jerry Gatlin ... The Wood Cutter
Sally Kirkland ... Honey
Walter Scott ... Steve (as Walter Scott Jr.)
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Storyline

At the beginning of the 20th century, a newspaper organizes an endurance horse race: 700 miles to run in a few days. 9 adventurers are competing, among them a woman, Miss Jones, a Mexican, an Englishman, a young cowboy, an old one and two friends, Sam Clayton and Luke Matthews. All those individualists will learn to respect each other. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Western Classic in the tradition of 'Shane' and 'High Noon'. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

1 May 1975 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

700 Meilen westwärts See more »

Filming Locations:

Jacob Lake, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,000,000, 31 December 1975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was inspired by the 1908 700-mile cross-country horse race from Evanston, Wyoming to Denver, Colorado. It was sponsored by the Denver Post, which offered $2,500 prize money to the winner. See more »

Goofs

When James Coburn is in the bath, the distance between the cigar and his chin changes from close to away in different shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Gebhardt: I heard your newspaper is running an honest race.
Reporter: You heard right, Mr. Gebhardt.
Gebhardt: Who the hell handicapped this owlhead as the favorite?
J.B. Parker: The smart money!
Gebhardt: That's what we come to get.
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK version is cut (ca. 10 sec.) to remove sight of cruelty to horses (illegal horse falls) due to the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. See more »

Connections

Featured in Behind the Action: Stuntmen in the Movies (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Endurance And Character
24 September 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Bite The Bullet, a most unusual western from the pen and the direction of Richard Brooks. It concerns a rather strange camaraderie that develops between the seven participants in a horse race out west.

This is not a race for speed, this is a test of endurance for seven miles through the desert in the American southwest. The seven participants are Gene Hackman, James Coburn, Ben Johnson, Candice Bergen, Jan-Michael Vincent, Ian Bannen, and Mario Artaega.

All these people have their own reasons for wanting the $2000.00 prize offered by the newspaper sponsoring the event. Hackman and Coburn are old friends already and Coburn's hoping Hackman will throw the race his way because he's up over his head in bets he can't pay off should he lose. Ben Johnson's an old timer just wanting to be remembered for doing something important in his life. Ian Bannen is an English Lord who thinks it's all jolly good sport. Candice Bergen is both striking a blow for women and sending money to her jailed husband. She works for madam Jean Willes when not racing. Jan-Michael Vincent is a punk kid with something to prove and Mario Artaega is just a poor guy looking for a stake to feed his family.

It's about the animals as well, this is not the Kentucky Derby for a mile and a quarter. The horses have to be looked after if they make it through a rough 700 miles. They kind of bind the characters together in a strange way.

Bite The Bullet is not long on plot, but very deep in characterization and it works here just like it works in the Sam Peckinpah classic, Junior Bonner. Even those that don't endure develop wellsprings of character they never thought they had. It's a good film and the ending shows something about character and friendship.


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